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Looking Ahead: Defensive Backs

With the Rams completely out of contention this season, and everyone already looking ahead to the Rams Super Bowl (also known as The NFL Draft), it is already time to take a look at where the Rams roster stands for 2012 and beyond.  Today, we are going to take a look at the defensive backfield.

2012 Starters: Corners – Bradley Fletcher, Ron Bartell. Safeties – Darian Stewart, Quintin Mikell

This unit has the most question marks going into the offseason based on health problems.  Ron Bartell’s injury was serious enough to be career ending and Fletcher should be back to full strength, but not for 12 months after the injury.  But without any evidence to the contrary, I am going to put them both back in the starting lineup as they are both under contract for next season.  Bartell is much more in question than Fletcher.

Mikell will be back next season as he is on a long term contract and so will Stewart.  I will pencil him into the other starting safety as I think he has shown enough and continues to improve to start (again depending on the scheme, a new defensive coordinator might want a larger, more strong safety type).

2012 Backups:

Jerome Murphy is also on IR, and should come back as the 3rd corner.  Josh Gordy has been a revelation and possibly saved the Rams defensive backfield this season.  The Rams should do everything they can to bring him back.  I’m happy with Justin King, Nate Ness, Brian Jackson and Marquis Johnson coming back to battle for the 5th corner spot and fill in until the starters get healthy. Al Harris should be retiring, and Rod Hood shouldn’t be back either.

Craig Dahl is one of my (and lots of others) whipping boy and if Steve Spagnuolo won’t be back, he won’t either.  He has the skillset of a linebacker in a safety’s body.  He has no awareness in the open field to cover the deepest receiver, often getting caught up.  James Butler also will be gone.

2012 Needs:

This one is very difficult to call at this point of the season, it is impossible to tell how Bartell, Fletcher and Murphy will come back next season off the IR.  So, I will continue to pencil them back in for next year as they are under contract and I haven’t heard any reason why they would not be ready to go.  So, at this point, the Rams will not need to acquire a CB in the offseason, just pray for better health.  The Rams will only need to pick up two back up safeties.  Just two who are not Butler and Dahl.  The Rams can

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2 Responses to “Looking Ahead: Defensive Backs”

  1. tyler says:

    it would be beyond silly to think this doesn’t need more work than any other area of our football team given it’s current state. Fletcher may not be ready by the beg. of the season and Bartell is likely not playing next season, if ever again. So that leaves us by my count Murphy (off an injury and out a year) and Gordy as our starters. I refuse to let King see the field in a Rams uniform again.

    We need to put at least one top 4 draft pick here, and have a decent FA acquisition to improve the depth of this area.

    I like Johnson, Murphy, and Gordy and would like to have them back, but we need 2 others to help out the questionable pair of Fletcher and Bartell.

  2. jason says:

    This is a tough position because if they are healthy you don’t need to do much. If you really think you are going to need immediate help you need to draft high, if you don’t you can pick someone low in the draft, but you can’t expect much. If they think all will be back at some point next year then the answer might be to find a decent bargain in FA to start the season as the starter and be a backup when everyone is healthy.

    The bottom line is, this is a difficult area at this point. They need to see how their health looks in early April.

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